<<The landmarks are amazing, and the monuments are remarkable, but the most valuable experience for me has been living day to day with my exchange family. It is amazing to find the little similarities and differences. Tuesday night, I went with my correspondent to her piano lesson. Her teacher greeted me with a kiss on each cheek, something I am still not quite used to. It was fascinating and eye opening to hear her teacher describe music and use musical terms, but all in French! in general, home life is the same with subtle differences and a few surprises. For example, this morning there was a whole fish sitting in the middle of the table.>>
<<This embattled shore, portal of freedom. Is forever hallowed by the ideals, the valor, and the sacrifices of our fellow countrymen.>>
The American Military cemetery in Normandy: A place no picture can accurately depict and no words can truly describe, though I'll do my best to try. It is snowy white crosses and stars; standing starkly against the greenest grass; standing strong against the flow of time and carrying a message into the future: Freedom is not free. Yet between the crosses grow small wildflowers: pink and yellow and white. Serving as a reminder that from death comes life and that though these soldiers died, they died so we, their people could live . Somehow though it is so much more than the sum of its parts. It's the feeling of the sun as it warms your skin and shines down, causing the cold stone to give off a warm glow. It's the wind blowing in my hair, coursing between my fingers, and ruffling the edges of my clothes like a scared child tugging at your sleeve. It's the knowing that these "men" were children. Children thrown into the wild unwelcoming world without direction save a vague moral directive. A directive they died for, probably without really realizing its true value. It's knowing that our entire lives are built upon the bones of these who made the ultimate sacrifice. But most of all it's the impossible dream and dread that someday you'll do something deserving of a place like this.
Pictures courtesy of Rice Tyler